The warehouse management systems your competitors use: Dematic
Many of the challenges that are facing today’s warehouse operators are caused by technology.
High-end, expensive tech is now carried around in the form of smartphones by just about everyone, and the expectation of today’s consumers is for same-day or next-day fulfillment as standard.
It’s ironic, therefore, that the source of the headaches for the industry is the same as its potential cure — automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, and interconnectivity.
Of course, it’s not all down to the consumer and the smartphone. Many retailers and suppliers are diversifying, adding new sales channels, offering faster deliveries, bringing onboard new inventory, and so forth.
That type of agile and rapid thinking is naturally backed by technology, either online or in back-end systems that can be switched up at the click of a mouse.
The warehouse operator and the supply chain in general are very much more bound by physical rather than virtual constraints: space is not a cheap commodity in which to invest, robots and automation systems take years to deploy and integrate, and finding and training staff appropriately is time-consuming and expensive, too.
But as anyone who’s kept an eye on Moore’s Law knows (computing capabilities double in power for the same cost every two years), the capabilities of technology are such now that the smart use of technology in the warehouse or distribution center is making significant differences to many businesses’ bottom lines. And the years-long deployment and assimilation times are very much a thing of the past.
In fact, in many Nordic companies in this very competitive sector, you’ll find very high end, smart systems in place already.
And no one has seen the need for billions of dollars or Euros of commitment to esoteric systems, either. The company behind this change is Dematic, a specialist provider that has clients all over the world, many of them operating in hothouse markets where just a few cents difference between competitors makes a world of difference.
There are a few aspects of the company we at TechHQ feel are worth exploring, mainly because the north European supply chain market is as highly charged (if not more so) than in many other areas of the globe.
Unlike many DC or warehousing solutions of just a few years ago, the Dematic hardware and iQ software platforms are designed by professionals from the industry, with the industry in mind. That means two things:
– Whether it’s an advanced piece-picking robot, an automated buffer storage area, no aspect of the Dematic systems started out in another sector (like manufacturing, for instance) and has been somehow re-provisioned for the distribution center, for example.
– No aspect of any piece of software, equipment, or machinery is standalone and entirely dependent on its own infrastructure. While “plug-n-play” is an overused term, in this context, it could apply; the Dematic product line is designed to co-exist and work with existing investment.
Like many of the supply chain’s clients, there’s a significant need to be agile and scalable. That does not necessarily mean there’s a demand for increased capacity or throughput in the long- or even the medium-term. Companies now talk about “bursts” in demand, where peaks in capability are designed to be short-lived.
Unfortunately, with the physical and logistical issues in the distribution center, rapid scaling for “Black Friday” or “Singles’ Day” isn’t a simple matter. But the Dematic solutions were created for this type of ultra-modern business reality.
In an industry fond of its buzz-phrases, those in the technology sector are often guilty of overuse of key terms — like end-to-end, or digital-first, for example. But it’s worth touching on one aspect of the Dematic range of solutions, in that it’s capable of pulling information from all areas of its WES (warehouse execution system) and providing unified operational, maintenance, and equipment data.
That gives warehouse operators the ability to see, often in real-time, analytics dashboards that comprise of critical information, in a “single pane of glass”. The performance tracking data at operators’ fingertips includes daily, category and promotional planning data. From there, the Dematic iQ software gives significant insight into market and consumer trends.
Whether it’s existing machines or systems or new investments that the business needs in critical areas of the operation, the system integration capabilities of the Dematic solutions mean that there’s no area of even multi-site facilities that cannot be overseen, and every area provides actionable intelligence either as compelling graphical visualizations or as empirical figures in real-time.
Your competitors have already learned
Earlier in this article, we touched on the fact that Dematic’s capabilities are tested and trusted right across the world in thousands of facilities, in multiple markets, and with every type of warehouse operator.
But in the Nordic countries of Europe, Dematic solutions are already in place and are driving the types of efficiencies and capabilities that today’s customers demand.
While technology might be the culprit for the changes to the challenges faced by the individual warehouse operator, it’s also technology that is providing many of the answers today — at least, the right technology. To learn more about the Dematic platforms, and how they can help your facilities transform, read more here.